Northwestern hoops earns victory at Rutgers

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Notre Dame forward V.J. Beachem (3) and guard Steve Vasturia (32) congratulate each other during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Miami, Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Coral Gables, Fla. Notre Dame defeated Miami 67-62. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) ORG XMIT: OTK

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Vic Law scored a game-high 21 points while Scottie Lindsey scored 14 and Isiah Brown came off the bench to score 11 to lead Northwestern past Rutgers 69-60 on Thursday night.

Rutgers (11-7, 0-5 Big Ten) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead and led 28-19 with 2:04 left in the half before Northwestern (14-4, 3-2) was able to cut into the lead to make it 28-25 at the break.

Northwestern went on a 6-0 run early in the second half to take its first lead of the game, 33-32, at the 17:19 mark. The Wildcats’ largest lead was 15, when they went up 62-47 with 2:52 to play.

Corey Sanders led Rutgers with 18 points while Deshawn Freeman had 12 points and 15 rebounds. Rutgers struggled to get shots to fall, shooting 31.9 percent from the floor and 65.2 percent from the free-throw line.

Earning votes in the AP poll earlier this season as they try to make the first NCAA Tournament in school history, the Wildcats have won consecutive games after a two-game skid. Northwestern started the season 12-2, including a nine-game winning streak.

Northwestern returns home to host Iowa on Sunday.

UIC 59, Cleveland State 54.

CLEVELAND — Godwin Boahen scored seven of 10 points during a 24-7 second-half run to help Illinois-Chicago beat Cleveland State 59-54 on Thursday night.

The Vikings led 39-30 before UIC took a 54-46 lead 2:18 remaining.  Boahen made two layups and a 3-pointer, Dominique Matthews scored six of his 11 points, and Tarkus Ferguson added five of his six points during the stretch.

Cleveland State pulled to 58-54 and had the ball with 23.8 seconds to go, but Kasheem Thomas missed a reverse layup on the next possession. Ferguson grabbed the rebound and split a pair of free throws to seal it.

Clint Robinson also scored 11 points for UIC (9-8, 2-2 Horizon League). Rob Edwards had 13 points to lead Cleveland State (5-12, 1-4).

Both teams shot poorly from the line. The Flames made 12 of 22 (55 percent) free throws while Cleveland State finished 7-of-20 shooting (47 percent).

Chicago State 70, Utah Valley 61

OREM, Utah — Fred Sims Jr. scored 25 points and hauled down 10 rebounds as Chicago State used a second-half surge to defeat Utah Valley 70-61 on Thursday night and claim their first Western Athletic Conference win of the season.

Clemmye Owens V had 14 points for Chicago State (5-14, 1-2) and Trayvon Palmer added nine with 11 rebounds.

Montana Byrd opened the second half with a 3-pointer as the Cougars cut Utah State’s lead to 33-31. Sims knocked in a 3 and made two free throws for a 44-40 Chicago State lead, which grew to as many as 13 points.

Jordan Poydras, fouled by Owens while attempting a 3-pointer, made all three foul shots as Utah Valley closed the gap to 53-50. Sims hit two of his four 3-pointers down the stretch to keep Chicago State just out of reach.

Brandon Randolph led the Wolverines (8-9, 0-2) with 12 points and Conner Toolson added 10.

No. 20 Notre Dame 67, Miami 62

CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The Fighting Irish were at their best down the stretch once again, which is why they’re still unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

V.J. Beachem sank the go-ahead basket and made the clinching steal as No. 20 Notre Dame rallied from a four-point deficit in the final 2 1/2 minutes to beat Miami 67-62 on Thursday night.

The Fighting Irish (15-2, 4-0) outscored Miami 10-1 down the stretch to earn their sixth straight victory. Their four league wins have been by a total of 18 points.

“Our fan base is all on heart medication,” coach Mike Brey said. “I loved our mental toughness again to finish.”

A sellout crowd failed to rattle the Irish, who snapped Miami’s 21-game home winning streak.

The Hurricanes (11-4, 1-2) led 61-57 with 2:30 left before Notre Dame rallied.

“Obviously we have some experience there,” Irish junior Steve Vasturia said. “It’s a testament guys not being afraid to step up and staying confident. We’ve been able to get big defensive stops in all four of these wins; that has been the backbone.”

Beachem’s reverse layup put the Fighting Irish ahead 63-61 with 1:04 to go. After Ja’Quan Newton made one of two free throws for Miami, Vasturia drove for a layup with 8 seconds remaining.

Following a timeout, Beachem made a steal on the inbounds play, and Matt Farrell’s two free throws iced the victory.

Miami coach Jim Larranaga declined to blame his young team’s inexperience on the fade at the finish.

“It’s more of a factor of how cool, calm and collected Notre Dame is at the end of these games,” Larranaga said.

Notre Dame won despite shooting a season-low 37 percent, with Miami blocking a season-high 12 shots.

“We’re really mentally tough,” Brey said. “We’re not affected when a guy rejects one off the backboard and the crowd goes crazy. We bounce back and keep playing.”

Farrell led the Irish with 15 points and six assists, and Beachem had 13 points. Vasturia added 10 points and six assists.

Miami senior Davon Reed tied a career high with 21 points but made a critical late turnover.

“We just didn’t take care of the ball late in the game,” Reed said. “We didn’t have poise down the stretch.”

The Hurricanes had 13 turnovers to only six for Notre Dame.

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